Before you bring in an outside sales training team it’s best to take time to prepare your team, consider your goals, and research the training providers you’re considering. Here are five steps to ensuring your sales training program is a success.
1- Know Your Internal Audience
Engage your sales team in the training process. Ask your leaders and sales team some critical questions, for instance, Where are they struggling? What help do they need? Have they had positive training experiences in the past? Don’t allow your own experiences or personal preferences to determine what your team “should” need or like. By engaging your team early, not only will you get important information, but you’ll start to build buy-in for acceptance and retention for the training you select.
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2- Evaluate Customization Capabilities
There are many outside sales training providers out there, each with their own programs and courses. The most successful programs are customized to your business. Customization means more than putting your logo on the binder cover. A program should be tailored based on your strategy, your needs, who you’re targeting, and what skills are required. The last thing you want is your team to come out of the field and spend two days in a training class, only to learn a quarter of the training was relevant to them and their success. In-depth customization is key.
3- Consider the Sales Training Delivery Methods
Your company is unique. You may have inside sellers all in one location or field reps dispersed across the globe. You might have a tight deadline or a long-term approach. As you evaluate training providers, assess their training approach and their flexibility to adjust to your needs. Consider offering more than one training solution and evaluate the available delivery methods.
People learn differently. It’s crucial to inspect your potential training company not only by how they deliver the training, but what media and other channels they use to teach it. If you have a big team, you’re going to have people that learn in three or four different ways, so it’s essential to have variability in the way training is delivered.
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4- Assess Sales Program Sustainability, Coaching, and Reinforcement
Your managers must be involved in the process. It’s ideal to train the managers before the rest of the sales team receives training. There also should be a reinforcement plan which encourages your managers to use the training tools and holds their teams accountable to utilize the news skills from the program. Manager coaching and reinforcement is the number one contributor to a positive ROI for any training program.
Buy-in from your managers is essential to generating buy-in from your team. If your managers aren’t committed to the program, your team won’t be either.
5- Assess Experience and Culture Fit
Many companies are disappointed when the trainer that delivers the training is different from the consultants or executives that actually sold the deal. Eliminate surprises and make sure you know who will be working with your company throughout the engagement.
Vetting the consultants that will be delivering the training is important. A lack of cultural alignment and credibility with your team can negatively impact the success of the program. The trainers must have experience and have actually done the job themselves in order to better relate and connect with your sales team. Make sure to check references and talk to clients who have first-hand experience working with the consultants that will work with you.